Ford Explorer appeared in 1991 one of the first four-door SUVs produced by Ford, and it's been many things since, from a compact and mid-size SUV to three-door and five-door wagons, even a mid-size crossover. A worthy replacement to the two-door Ford Bronco II, it has since earned its place between its siblings, the compact Ford Edge and the full-size Ford Expedition. Ford Explorer has been going strong for six generations and counting, in fact: the first two were inspired by the Ford Ranger compact pickup and the fifth even had a Ford Taurus chassis adapted for SUV use. Its celebrated status has earned it many awards over the years, too. It's rated well for safety by NHTSA and IIHS, it got North American Truck of the Year from an NAIAS jury in 2006 and 2011, and its innovative rear inflatable seat belts won a Best New Technology Award from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada in 2011.
Over its six generations, the Ford Explorer has featured a range of engine options that included gas, diesel, and hybrid powerplants. Transmission choices have run from five-speed manual to 10-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive has been standard, though front-wheel drive was the norm for the fifth-generation models. Amenities have included LED headlights, power liftgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, smartphone connectivity, anti-lock brakes, optional towing package, multimedia touchscreen, and rear parking sensors.
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